Smooth as ICE, by Jennifer Lagier

“Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.”
Joseph Goebbels

La Migra we call border patrol agents
who harass day laborers
as they queue up for jobs
outside our local Home Depot.
What was once a banal nature cliché
is now a potential death sentence.
Immigration officials carry out
cruel federal policy like good little Nazis.

Enraged, I carry a picket sign,
march and chant with
ACLU and MALDEF members,
parade along wire cages
where deportees are held
at the edge of Salinas.

School attendance drops.
Children are afraid of being separated
from mothers and fathers,
the only culture and community
they’ve ever known.

Hate-mongers scapegoat, demonize,
use faux news to rouse
their raving base, build support for
crimes against humanity,
deny the label of racist.

I hold My Daughter’s Hand, by Steven Croft

that the physician wiped clean of smoke
and dust and I think of the time of no war
so long ago, the trips in my brother’s car
to the quiet country stream by the olive trees.
My daughter, I cradled you after the meal until
your cries softened, then held you and looked
for your future in the quiet stream
I feel her hand has grown cold, but I will not
tell them.  Days, nights, days I prayed to Allah
for the bombs to stop.  Now I am exhausted.
Bombs shake the floor but I have no prayer
left, just this hand of my daughter I hold on to.
My daughter, I stare now at the quiet stream
where I will wash these wounds, by the trees
I will bury you in the peace of your beginning
I don’t want the busy attendant to stop so
I keep my head down, look at white bandages
stained with red that wrap your chest.  All
life I have left is holding this beautiful hand.
Steven Croft is the author of two chapbooks, Coastal Scenes and Moment and Time.  He has recent poems in Politics/ Letters LiveSky Island JournalAs It Ought to Be Magazine, and Poets Reading the News.

The Blue Girl, by Orla Fay

in mem. Sahar Khodayari

Shouldn’t the colour shield,
shroud in its protection?
Of the sky and of the sea
at best seeking peace, tranquillity,
communication, no offence?
Its devotion is millennia old,
favouring the myriad in divinity.

What of freedom though?
Is it the river-like hue of flowing speech,
the backdrop to the swallow’s
wings on an azure day?
It is a battle cry too, the storm,
the painted face of Celts and Picts
on the journey to war.

Or is it just a sadness,
the feeling of never being good enough,
years of being less because of gender?
It is the weight of society,
the unbending rules of authority
and tradition that inflict traumas
of fear and oppression.

Did you know you were going into combat?
Did you hope the deception would hold,
that a blind eye be turned?
It was only a football match; your team wore its shade.
When they arrested and sentenced you,
did the flame of injustice consume
your spirit, scream liberty? Change?


 Orla Fay is editor of Boyne Berries. Recently her poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, ROPES 2019, Impossible Archetype, The Bangor Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Tales from the Forest, Quarryman and FourXFour. She has been previously shortlisted for The Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, The Dermot Healy Award, The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award, The Rush Poetry Competition and The Redline Book Festival Poetry Award. This year she was shortlisted for The Cúirt New Writing Prize. She won 3rd prize in The Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Award 2019. Her shorty story Foxy was published on the incubator selects in April. She is working towards a first collection of poetry. She blogs at   

2019, by Harry Gallagher

(With apologies to Orwell)
On a warmer than normal
Autumnal morning,
the clocks all struck thirteen.
No one heard as England dreamed
of Spitfires and bunting,
streetparties, fox-hunting.
Somewhere in the distance,
three doors down your street,
bobbies on the beat
whistled a merrie tune,
while loosening bricks,
smithereening the front door
of planet-hugging peaceniks.
No warrant needed,
no cause for alarm,
a warning well-heeded
will keep you from harm.
When the siren calls, muster
in the Churchill Pavillion,
repeat after the speaker
from one to a million:
There was only ever one Winston
There was only ever one Winston
There was only ever one Winston….
“Extinction Rebellion eco-warriors arrested as police batter down doors in raids….”

Paradigm Shift, by Dave Rendle

Another world is possible
Beyond days of sleeping
Unsolved dreams can become a reality
Fulcrums of necessity
Flaming passion
Burning with fire
Released by comrades
Into the timeless bones of the universe.

Enjoying freedom
Wings of liberty
Unleashing stardust
Sweetness that contains mercy
Not bound by cages or prison walls
Through solidarity all made stronger
Breaking borders, spreading internationalism
Transforming with arms unrestrained.

The love we share
Can be a mover against injustice
Adjusting and shaping
Making waves that carry all
A communal roar spreading light
Against chains of command
Reinforcing pride with eyes glistening
Still gripping to the rays filled with hope

Greta at the UN, by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I’m a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl – Björk

She has left her Scandinavian bed,
her pillow filled with dream feathers.
Her braid is woven with oceans, earth,
skies and trees; it crackles with electricity.
Her eyes are pieces of ice that will not melt,
she is the forest fire in the shape   of a girl.

Greta at the UN (still from video).jpg

Four poems by Donald Krieger

Just Another Sinner

If I am a liar, a lecher, a pervert,
hateful, graceless, for sale,
and a vicious coward,

how could you not despise me,
you who know so much
but do not know the Lord.

If I am all these
that we live His Word,
name love Abomination,
save life at all cost,
the dying and the unborn,
even the unmale,

am I not just a sinner
doing His holy work.


White Out Three Times

After the wedding I puked,
then slept in the bushes. At first light
I drove east, no good bye, the sun
bright as a bomb. By eight

it was snowing. By ten
I was alone running sixty
in the left lane, the others
behind slow trucks or on the shoulder.

This weekend a white boy
drove into the crowd
and killed somebody. Other boys
with credit cards, K-Mart torches,
mommy’s clean muscle shirts, chanted,

You … won’t … erase … us.



Halls Bayou on CNN, Close-Captioned

Out Front with Erin Burnett is on TV at the gym,
Ric Saldivar tells how it happened.
His brother, Sammy, turned off toward the bridge.
The water was half up the guard rail. He hesitated,

then drove slowly across. On the other side
the road dipped and the van floated,
Sammy went out the side window,
left his parents and four grand children screaming.

He told Ric, They went to heaven holding hands.

Your cheeks flushed, Erin, when he said,
flood water covered the bridge. You hid your face
when he said, left them screaming.

They’re still finding bodies in the Freetown mud slide,
more than a thousand, and this year’s monsoon,
twelve hundred dead, millions homeless. Erin, why
do I care nothing for them?


Precious Payload

Jack was a rocket scientist. He often traveled to the Wallops Island test range with a payload we built, a mass spectrometer or a Langmuir probe. Sometimes they mated it to the rocket with duct tape, the stuff you can get at any hardware store. Then they waited for good weather, fired it into the sky and gone.

He often talked of his kids, how they came faster and faster, the last one, forty minutes start to finish. That’s when he got the vasectomy.

He spoke too of his friend’s daughter, arrested for speeding on Huron River Drive. It’s so wrong, his friend said, I got her a lawyer. As he told the story, Jack was shaking his head and laughing, They’re our children and we love them, but they could do anything.

Ladylike, by Myriam San Marco


The poem is dedicated to all teenagers who feel they can’t speak their truth.


Myriam San Marco is a poet, promoter and creative writing facilitator. Many years ago, she truanted school to go to libraries, read all the books, drunk all the drinks, took all the drugs, partied in all the fields and from time to time, wrote poetry. As the Bournemouth Poet Laureate, Myriam San Marco has been leading a creative writing and development program for local writers with the support of Bournemouth Libraries and continues to support poetic initiatives in local schools. She founded Word Makers and Silence Breakers in 2016 and curates a bi-monthly spoken word night at Chaplin’s cellar bar. Myriam has been found performing on street corners, bookshops, carnivals, festival stages and poetry events. Abe Gibson described her performance as cutting to draw blood. Myriam’s words have been published online and in print. She feels burdened to tell the stories that would break the existing narrative, like a small pebble in your shoe which would cause you to stop walking to hunt it down. Her debut collection Sakura was published by Burning Eye in June 2018.

Three poems by Rodney Wood


(i.m. Bill, my neighbour)


I take Bill to A&E to see a Consultant who says
Stop reading the EXPRESS. It causes heart disease,
hypertension, kidney failure, blurred and distorted vision,
obesity, excessive drinking and erectile dysfunction.


but it’s hard for Bill to stop reading because
it’s part of his daily routine, the EXPRESS
says what he and everyone thinks, he adores
the letters, comments and will devour until he dies

the hard truth – ATTACKS, WORLD WAR 3 FEARS,

pickers carry him from his home, with the EXPRESS
spread over him like a blanket covering his breast
so people can read the worst ARSENAL LOSE AGAIN




An endless round of wannabes wait in the studio for their decorative, sick ceremonies to be televised on an almost daily basis. They live in a different atmosphere, are unlikely to be arrested for drug offenses or imprisoned and see fleeting fame as a plausible ambition for all. This “narcissistic personality” keeps them going but many of these celebrities are just plain boring. They haven’t learnt from real life experiences, magazines or Netflix. Yet mortals worship them even though they peddle the same boring shit. People worship them as minor deities, although Jay-Z and Beyoncé are obviously Zeus and Hera.




Each Remembrance Day, Francine Partridge watches from her bedroom window a military brass band wearing caps, red jackets with gold bottons and a white belt, with black trousers and boots, sparkle along the road. They hold shiny cornets, horns, trombones, tubas and, the one in the middle wears a leopard skin over his tunic and thumps a big drum and, around him, snare drummers perform insane tricks. The Drum Major with a blue sash carries a heavy white mace and shows off his finger rools, neck wraps, rifle tosses, spins and flourishes. The band are playing “Old comrades” as they wheel into St Michael’s Road. One by one the band disappear. Each day for twenty years Francine sits by her window waiting for another display. One way of wasting a life is as good as any other, says her mother Florence Oppenheimer.


Rodney Wood lives in Farnborough has poems published in Orbis, Envoi, Magma, The High Window and The Journal. In 2017 he published a pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice, with The Red Ceilings Press. He also jointly runs an open mic and is the Stanza rep for Woking.

Where is freedom? by Ananya S Guha

Kashmir and freedom
I am not saying freedom
of speech, I am talking
of freedom in chains
we are born free
we are born to rise
or die
Kashmir’s many lies, lives
and death are now on the
way to freedom which it
can only understand, and
how the mind and body imprisoned
does not comprehend why it was done
what was done to annul a clause in the
Constitution to bestow freedom
Is man born without chain or fetters
if then why is there need to keep freedom
in bondage and warehouses?
Where O where is freedom, the statue
of liberty?

The Cheese, The Pastor and The Rock -Flower, by Lucia Daramus

I’m cutting the cheese …is so white, firm and smelling of milk
milk, milk, milk, thread of life like a baby’s skin smell
a milk drop from the cheese is falling on the kitchen pavement
as a tear. tears, tears, tears of an- ancient peasant woman
her wrinkles meander on her hands. work. hard work. poverty
famine. poverty. work. hard work and tears, tears curling on her face
in the middle of the night’s belly
I remember! the cheese milk is reminding me of that woman and her son –
in a corner of my mind a house, wooden ruin rusty house
rotten stumps , holes in the ceiling
the death screaming
and ruins , ruins , ruins, ruins in their musty house.
The son is picking up some nettles
a voice. more voices. and the broken fence of this place
” do you have fresh cheese? asked Cher in a peasant’s local language
”Oh, you like wild cheese” said very friendly the skinny man, the peasant.
‘ my friend, he is English”
the skinny peasant smiled ashamedly . never an Englishman walked his poor garden.
wooden ruin mouldy house. a window. broken window. only glasses shards.
a shadow behind them. the old-ancient woman with her wrinkles snaking her face
”oh, we have a piece, I will ask my mum, the cheese piece is only our dinner’.
the fence, broken fence. rusty. musty. ruins. poverty. famine. the hopeless and death…
death. death. death in old woman ‘s eyes …dancing
and a rock flower , me, in this group.
“Cher, ask about the price” I said
”What?” said Cher’s English friend. “Why are you so bossy ?” asked me
the Baptist pastor , Keith.
Ashamed, the rock flower looked to the skinny man
her blood sprang out through her petals mind
”He is poor, this piece is only their dinner”
”Why are you so bossy?” asked the Baptist pastor Keith
from his lavish life bothering the rock flower, me.
and….and….beyond this dampest place …. death’s poverty. flying.
scratching. digging. sharp claws of destitution.
”no, no, never am I bossy” shivered the rock flower
under the mauve – yellow sky everything is flowing and flying
into freedom. look at his poverty it’s biting from his skin.
scarcity . dearth. ending. death. death.. death
and two eyes behind the glasses shards ……away ..away
in our car smell of cheese and in my mind a trace of poverty
the poverty of human being. yes, human poverty of Keith, the pastor
”why are you so bossy? why are you against us?”
”I am not against nobody. but I am not a baptist, I want to be free
to fly, to think, to fly, sing, to fly, to fly in liberty” stretching her fingers
the rock- flower.
”If you are not with us you are against us. You must be like us,
you must think like us. You must look like us, eat like us, smell like us
if you are not, you are lost for ever” harassed psychologically
yelling at the rock flower
rock flower, rock flower, rock flower….was flying in her beautiful world .
Keith, the Baptist pastor asked again ”why your best friend is Elisabetha?
She was bothering my family , she, she…”
”her mind is a free ocean in which ideas are flowing,” whispered the rock flower,
you told me you never read a literature book, because it is
the source of all sins. You petrified in immoral act
the light festival of Indians, dancing in St. Michael Stroud Church
you petrified in immorality everything …love, love, love
your mind is seeing everywhere evil
everywhere fire of hell burning good people’s skin
you believe you keep in your hands the absolute truth
my mind is flying , is flowing in relativity
in colours and shadows, and shades
you manipulated Cher with your fossilized words
you entranced in each family business
because your interests are money, money, money
money in the name of your god, money and
manipulation of fragile souls ….money
your words leaping in Cher ‘s mind depression
your Baptist wives are sexual slaves
their wombs are only to carry babies
for the kingdom of Baptist, you destroy poetry
the flight of blue birds, the colours, smiles of liberty….”
I’m cutting the cheese …..the milk is flowing on the pavement
a street, milk street in my kitchen and a placard :
street holy drinking is prohibited in this area

Last Chance, by Tim Evans

The sea rises.
A woman sits by the shore,
Singing the lost songs of love and exile.
And there shall be fires too,
Floods and hurricanoes,
As the sea rises
And the ocean swells
And the salt waves slap
Against the wet caves
Of our imagination.
Condemned to one last chance.

Why are you deaf and dumb?
Are we the last people?
Did these lakes and hills belong to us
Or we to them?
Is this our honour?
To be the last defenders
Of a wounded planet?

Remember, though…
It was not ‘we’ who sucked up oil from the veins of the earth,
It was not ‘we’ who created moving cities of automobiles
Headlights blazing through the motorways of night.
It was you – B.P, Shell, Total, Exxon Mobil,
Lukoil & Chevron,
GM, Ford, Honda, Chrysler
Peugeot, Suzuki
Rolls-Royce and Mercedes,
It is from your black fangs
That the oil drips
Through your steel veins
That the petrol thrums fast.

Cities are sinking into the sea tonight.
Wind rises from nowhere
Across the shattered beach

And the woman still sits
By the shore
Singing the old songs
Of love and revolt
Rise up
Because it is the last silence
Before the great thunder.
The winds blow stranger and wilder
And the waves are rising”.

And we are condemned to one last chance.
One last chance.

Two poems by Ken W Simpson

File numero 1X



The truth
is invariably hidden
behind a lie.



An extensive probe
has failed to discover
any sign
of heaven in our galaxy
or beyond
where it may have got
by a black hole
or exploded
many light years ago
as a star
which is why nobody
is there
to hear your prayers.



An autopsy showed
the bloated
corpse of capitalism
died of greed
and self-indulgence.



A supturing
open wound
with maggots.

Some lines on leaving, by Jonathan Jones

Strange how ‘The Smiths’ made sense only
after I had no more use to make
of melancholy.

self-hatred, teenage stereotype,

Johnny Marr’s insouciant cool,
and if I don’t fit in today
it’s not merely nostalgia talking.

Merely a band that I came to
too late, in order to sound
like a true outsider.

Now is principally
the struggle to identify.
Stream pain’s banal

commodity. One cannot
live outside a wail
or wall.

Someone asks
me whether I am English
like a stage sans

seven ages.

Democracy without a doubt
No way with words.

Two poems by Wim Coleman

Gun Rights Medley

Remember six hundred
and nine thousand
six hundred and forty
Americans died of

cancer last year and
not one shot was fired
it isn’t a gun issue it’s
a mortality issue if

they take away every-
body’s AR-15s they’ll
kill even more people with
knives we disagree on

everything else but
don’t you feel safer
to know I’m carrying
a firearm I’m a

good guy with a
gun and you hate
America so don’t you
feel safer “assault

weapon” is a made-
up fear-mongering
liberal label for weapons
designed to kill as

many people as
possible typical liberal
hypocrisy demanding
tighter gun laws

while defending
women’s reproductive
rights what next
a ban on potatoes?




I have no more poems for you—

you who tuck children under Mylar blankets
and sing them lullabies of hate;
you who cram your belly with mendacity
and puke it back into the world;
you who listen to the fiend’s mad howling
and call it the voice of God;
you who foul the nest
and gloat and wallow in excrement;
you who build a wall of steel
to sever yourself from all that’s beautiful;
you who can’t imagine
why I weep for you and pity you.

Poems are no longer for your eyes and ears.
They belong to those who still know shame.

Find shame again;
join me here in shame’s arms of thorns;
find cleansing and rebirth in shame’s fountains
so I may lay poems before you once again.


Wim Coleman is a playwright, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His poetry has been published in SOL: English Writing in MexicoThe OpiateDissenting VoiceTuck MagazineVita BrevisThe Esthetic ApostleAdelaide Literary Magazine, and Dream Noir. His play The Shackles of Liberty was the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. Novels that he has co-authored with his wife, Pat Perrin, include Anna’s World, the Silver Medalist in the 2008 Moonbeam Awards, and The Jamais Vu Papers, a 2011 finalist for the Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal. Wim and Pat are members of PEN International. Blog:

Kin, by Amy Louise Wyatt

Largely due to curiosity, and licking,
cattle are poisoned the most.

Lead paint; abandoned batteries
from tractors are salty, oily, palatable.

How’s a farmer to find a battery leaking
in the green blades of his field, when a cow,
head down tells no one of her find;

when her calf, rib high, first learns to lick
the red from a disused digger mouth?

Here’s a mother who does not know
she’s killed her young, had fed them lead
spiked milk.  Had head in crankcase oil,

stomach lined; days on, foams at mouth,
staggers in the paddock. All once pastoral

now black.  Surely, soon we’ll learn there’s
poison in everything, even our brightest finds


Amy Louise Wyatt is a poet, lecturer and artist from Bangor, N.I.  She has had work published in journals such as The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, FourxFour and Dodging the Rain. Amy has read her poetry on The BBC Arts Show, at University of Ulster’s Riverside Readings and at several festivals. She is the editor of The Bangor Literary Journal and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2018.

Fixations, by Mark Young

Because of insanity
the template collapsed
in its entirety. I couldn’t
continue my project.

Everyone has a different
take on the cause & how
to go about solving the
problem. All agree, how-

ever that with no fix
someone will soon start
transporting in guns in
the hope of achieving a

quick fix. No one knows
how to breathe anymore.


Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of around fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata; taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods; & Residual sonnets from Ma Press of Finland.

Jacob Rees-Mogg retires for the evening, by Antony Owen

I think of all the people who slouched on something green –
two lovers high and naked on Woodstock grass
awaiting Armageddon, Simon & Garfunkel
arguing out of sight about bass
screeching “fuuuuccckkk you” to each other
then singing Bridges over troubled water
in perfect harmony like  those two lovers
making mothers of ill-fated millennials.
If only their bodies never burned like hashtag Amazon
but alas, they were in love like James Dean and death
in love with love like film stars and the parts that played them.

I think of other people who slouched on something green –
Lee Harvey-Oswald on the grassy knoll or person X.
a little girl dropping her slush puppy on tarmac
exploding like a Presidents head onto Versace,
a bullet screaming like Onassis in blood-smoke.
I think of Cuban cigars bluing Havana cafes
two strangers dancing bossa-nova
dancing like Kennedy was never USofA
no holding on to each other in bossa-nova,
like Onassis to long dead ideal
Like Eagles to mice
Sioux back to eagle
It is too late but
fuck you man.

I think of Jacob Rees-Mogg slouched on an olive bench,
smug as the hierarchical vulture first to the meat
and what is the meat it is real people at foodbanks
trying to be people and they are, people still, just.
I think of sitting next to Mogg clamping his nipples,
the nation’s poor feeds from the lycan, he pales.
He pales into insignificance and the sun makes dust.
He sways into diamonds, yes he would love that.
He would love to be something of jewels, of riches.
I think of his nipples feeding the poor and watch.
I sit upright and record the moment, never slouching, not once.

Eggs of Brexit, by Kushal Poddar

The hard side of this, and the one soft,
remains hoodwinked in the shell
as the things boil. 

“How will you prefer your eggs?”
I remember Gulliver
once stranded in an island
with a run of hard border,
say, “What if I am too full of eggs?” 

“The choice,” regrets the cook in portent voice,
“Doc, is limited.”
One may enter in the eatery
but leaving without a reverie of will disregarded
seems an antithesis.


Authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and now ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’ (Alien Buddha Press)

Author Page –